The Kairos Ring

Posted in Audio by - March 22, 2022
The Kairos Ring

Released February 2021


The first of a new, narrated BBC audio series exploring companions after leaving the company of the Doctor, ‘The Kairos Ring’ by Steve Gallagher continues the story of Romana on the threshold of E-space. Along with the Tharil Lazlo, she must ride the Time Winds to find the dreadful Sluagh and an item that puts all of time at risk.

Gallagher, writer of “Warrior’s Gate” that originally saw Romana depart the TARDIS, has a firm grasp on Romana as a character, displaying her pride, determination, and charm expertly. She has become more accustomed to life among the Tharils and is becoming more confident using their means of navigation, and spearheading such a vast network attempting to learn more about the undead armies and the figure at their control is a natural extension for her character and how much her time with the Doctor influenced her. Indeed, she fully realizes just how much she does not know and understand in this situation, and she humbly puts aside her pride and ego to welcome newcomers to the team and to try to foster relationships with those who may not have the most obvious contributions to offer.

Somewhat strangely, Romana is very much a complementary figure here rather than the sole focal point, and a Union Civil War soldier named Joshua carries vast portions of this narrative as the mystery of the Kairos Ring and his own unknown secret slowly come to light. Joshua has seen the horrors of battle and is eager and proud to make a difference when the opportunity is offered, and his own humility, naivety, and inherent bravery make him a worthy set of eyes through which this vast story can unfold while ensuring it remains grounded in very human emotions. Steven Pacey of Blake’s 7 fame is the sole narrator here, and while there is less dialogue and much more descriptive narration than might be expected, he proves adept at adding enough nuance and inflection to each of the characters to make them well-rounded and differentiated individuals.

The story does seem to meander at times and doesn’t quite have enough material to fully fill its allotted time, but the core concept is an immensely engaging one that allows plenty of incredible visuals and a strong thematic message that allows for a heartfelt- if rushed- resolution. Sadly, the power, mystique, and history of the Tharils are hardly touched upon here despite Lazlo’s involvement, something of a missed opportunity given how incredibly unique this race and their relationship with time are. Nonetheless, while it is strange to have Romana back in N-space for this story given the storytelling potential that so clearly still exists within E-space, the leading duo of Romana and Joshua cover the more grandiose and more intimate moments wonderfully as they take charge of the fight back against the man who has no shame and who wants to take the place in history he believes he deserves rather than that he has earned. Romana has always been one of the most headstrong and determined of the Doctor’s companions, and with the help of great sound design to bring the many settings to vivid life, ‘The Kairos Ring’ takes an unexpected yet undoubtedly memorable journey to bring her back into the spotlight.

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